PPDA opens probe into Makerere University gowns procurement deal

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The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) has opened an audit into the Makerere University graduation gowns to ascertain whether all the guidelines on local procurement were followed.

Mr Uthman Ssegawa, the PPDA acting executive director, told reporters in Kampala on Thursday that the gowns procurement was below Shs 1 billion which means it should have gone to local manufacturers.

“With respect to the gowns, the PPDA has contacted Makerere University to provide it with the procurement file. We understand that this contract was signed in February 2017 before our guideline. The PPDA laws allows that even if you have a contract it can be amended. So we anticipate that Makerere should have amended this contract to provide that the supplier who was contracted should buy or source the materials from Uganda. We are undertaking a contract audit to find out what went wrong in this particular procurement,” Mr Ssegawa said.

For the last two weeks, the issue of Makerere University graduation gowns played in the media after it came to the fore that the contractor was sourcing them from China. The university could not secure all the 15,000 gowns on time and had to engage local knitters to cover the gap.
The university said they had contracted a local supplier but they breached the contract by sourcing the material from China.

Mr Ssegawa said there are three local manufacturers in Uganda that would have made gowns locally and supplied the university – Southern Nyanza (former Nytil), Fine Spinners and Sigma Knitting.

He said the authority has asked for the file of the procurement of the gowns from the university and they expect to receive it by January 23, 2020, and the audit will be finished within three weeks.
If Makerere University is found to have breached the rules, the issue will be forwarded to the university council for action, which could include terminating the contract and sourcing providers afresh.

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